1st Edition

Public Memory, Race, and Heritage Tourism of Early America

Edited By Cathy Rex, Shevaun E. Watson Copyright 2022
    176 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    176 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book addresses the interconnected issues of public memory, race, and heritage tourism, exploring the ways in which historical tourism shapes collective understandings of America’s earliest engagements with race.

    It includes contributions from a diverse group of humanities scholars, including early Americanists, and scholars from communication, English, museum studies, historic preservation, art and architecture, Native American studies, and history. Through eight chapters, the collection offers varied perspectives and original analyses of memory-making and re-making through travel to early American sites, bringing needed attention to the considerable role that tourism plays in producing—and possibly unsettling—racialized memories about America’s past. The book is an interdisciplinary effort that analyses lesser-known sites of historical and racial significance throughout North America and the Caribbean (up to about 1830) to unpack the relationship between leisure travel, processes of collective remembering or forgetting, and the connections of tourist sites to colonialism, slavery, genocide, and oppression.

    Public Memory, Race, and Heritage Tourism of Early America provides a deconstruction of the touristic experience with racism, slavery, and the Indigenous experience in America that will appeal to students and academics in the social sciences and humanities.

    List of Contributors


    Introduction: New Directions for Research: Bringing Together Public Memory, Early America, and Tourism Studies
    Shevaun E. Watson and Cathy Rex

    Chapter 1. Revisiting the Gateway to Bondage: A Comparative Study of the Landscape Preservation and Touristic Interpretation at Sullivan’s Island with Ellis and Angel Islands
    Barry L. Stiefel

    Chapter 2. Remembrance and Mourning in the Native Mid-South: Florence Indian Mound Museum’s Past, Present, and Future
    Matthew Duqués and Brian Murphy

    Chapter 3. Remembering and Forgetting Plantation History in Jamaica: Rose Hall and Greenwood Great House
    Cathy Rex

    Chapter 4. At the Table or On the Menu at Indiana’s Feast of the Hunters’ Moon
    Kathryn Florence

    Chapter 5. Slavery in the Big Easy: Digital Interventions in the Tourist Landscape of New Orleans
    Ella Howard

    Chapter 6. Don’t Mess with (Anglo) Texas: Dominant Cultural Values in Heritage Sites of the Texas Revolution
    Mark Ward Sr.

    Chapter 7. Bulloch Hall and the Movement Toward a Well-Rounded Interpretation of Antebellum Life in Roswell, Georgia
    Sara Harwood

    Chapter 8. Rendezvous with History: Grand Portage National Monument and Minnesota’s North Shore
    David A. Tschida

    Afterword: Memory and Heritage in the "Era of Just Redemption"
    Shevaun E. Watson



    Cathy Rex is a Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She specializes in early American literature and material culture. Her scholarship has appeared in many journals and edited collections; her monograph was published by Ashgate in 2015.

    Shevaun E. Watson is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Composition at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She specializes in rhetoric, composition, early American rhetoric, and public memory. She is working on a monograph about heritage tourism, race, and public memory in Charleston, S.C.

    “Tightly argued yet broad ranging, this volume brings together different strands of scholarship to generate fresh insights, suggesting new directions for us all […] Together, these essays open an important avenue for Early American Studies. With a consistency and breadth seldom found in an edited collection, this volume offers a convincing case for how and what we study. The essays address key moral concerns, from decolonization to immigration to racial reconciliation, and provide guideposts for how we may explore a new body of texts. The geographic and cultural diversity illustrate, as well, that we no longer have the need to fall back on stock regions, themes, or canonical formations. Rex and Watson have opened an invitation for anyone who teaches courses in early American literature to head out to their closest landmark, apply the same tools we use for traditional analysis, and engage our students in this continued renegotiation of a still-unwritten past.”

    -Thomas Hallock, in Early American Literature, Volume 58, Number 2, 2023, pp. 511-515 (Article), published by The University of North Carolina Press, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/eal.2023.a903787.


    “The case studies within this collection demonstrate the vital work heritage sites do to enfold audiences in this nation’s radical memory politics. The resulting scholarship provides readers with a deeper understanding of the mechanisms by which heritage tourism constructs and contests tourist relationships with oft-erased and de-raced pasts […] The topoi engaged in Public Memory, Race, and Heritage Tourism of Early America – decoloniality, racial rhetorical criticism, digital humanities, and environmental rhetorics – demonstrates tourism studies’ continued relevance to strengthening rhetorical studies, Scholars invested in teaching upper-level undergraduate or graduate seminars on themes of public memory, race and communication, field methods, decoloniality, and indigenous rhetorics will especially benefit from assigning this collection.”

    -Anthony J. Irizarry, in The Quarterly Journal of Speech, Volume 109, Issue 2, 2023, pp. 206-209 (Article), DOI 10.1080/00335630.2023.2201435.